My name is Anthony Fajarillo. I created this site in 2015 to help me record and organize my bonsai collection. At the time my intent was a low key approach to get my feet wet on blogging and also to help me focus on the development of my trees. I’m updating this page almost exactly one year (this day is 12-31-2015) from when I started. I have learned a lot and have definitely rekindled my passion for bonsai and with some new vision for the future. I would say that the highlight of this year was participating at the Artisan Cup in Portland with my cascading Mountain Hemlock. I have collected several urban Yamadoris that are waiting to become great bonsais. I finally got to explore areas where possible yamadori bonsai resides. Posted a total of 24 blogs in 2015, nothing to brag about compared to some but that’s about 2 a month (hard to believe). But if I may, I can brag about my four (4) international followers ( woot woot, one of them I think it’s my own avatar), but anyway thank you guys for your support. For future, I would like to continue to hone my skills and knowledge to help produce great bonsai. Also continue to share the development of my trees here. I hope to post photos of trees from it’s beginnings to it current state.
Bonsaiko is a combination of the Filipino word “ko” which means (me or my) with the word “bonsai”. Bonsaiko means “my bonsai” in Filipino.
SHORT VERSION ABOUT:
I love bonsai. I enjoy looking and making them more than writing about them. I discovered bonsai back when I was in high school. I dabbled with it off and on since then and failed many times. Around 2000, I got serious and my collection grew. Read, learned, and studied as much as I could and practiced it. Got to a point where I switch career from being an Mechanical Engineer project manager to owning a landscape business so I can get closer to what I love to do. I have a lot to learn about bonsai and will continue to learn. I created this site for a selfish reason. I want a place to organize my thoughts. A place to show my bonsai, not show off what I got, but to help me think of my collection with the outsiders point of view. This is with the hope to help me create a better bonsai.
I enjoy bonsai for its many aspects. For me one of the most enjoyable aspects of bonsai is the creation of it. I like taking a material that appears to have no value and turn it into something beautiful. Sometimes, I get a hold of a good material and I love the challenge of making it even better.
If you happen to stumble into my site, thank you for visiting. I hope that I’ve provided some inspiration if not for the pursuit of bonsai. at least for the appreciation of it.
LONG VERSION ABOUT:
My passion for bonsai started back when I was about 13 years old, first year high school in the Philippines (7th grade in the US), when I first had access to a real library at St. Louis College. I discovered a book on bonsai and I was instantly amazed at the photos of miniaturized trees in a pot. Although the book I found was mostly photos, I don’t recall finding or reading books that provided instructions on how to create a bonsai. Despite of the lack of information, I decided to try to make my own bonsai. I collected bonsai seedlings around my house. My first attempt was on a Karmay seedling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllanthus_acidus I found growing in our yard. Ignorant about bonsai, I had this idea that to make bonsai small, you reduce all of its normal nourishment and life giving elements, including the air it breathes. So with that in mind, I took a large glass jar and cover my seedling with it, thinking that by allowing less air, that my poor seedling will eventually stay small. It stayed small alright, because it never grew after it died shortly after.
Fast forward after moving to United States, when I finally started working, making my own money, I was able to buy materials and pots to create my own bonsai. I attempted to create bonsai again for the first time since my Karmay seedling when I was in Wisconsin around 1991. I read some basic books on how to do it but had no experience on bonsai. I remember, using just any standard soil at the time and packing it like mud in the pot. Needless to say, I don’t have those bonsai trees now, in fact, I killed all those first bonsais. I gave up on trying at the time. Until, I moved back to Washington state for work, a friend gave my wife and I a juniper bonsai as a gift. Still very ignorant about bonsai, I never fertilized the tree nor root pruned it. Again, that tree died. Meanwhile my fascination for bonsai and plants continued to grow.
My first bonsai success gave me that encouragement to continue pursuing bonsai was from a fig tree that my late uncle gave me. This was a common fig, with large leaves, (not ideal for bonsai) but I it was a success for me because I kept that tree alive for at least 5 years in a pot. Having that success, I continued to pick-up other plant materials and experimented on them as I continued to learn more about bonsai. Around 1995, my wife and I moved into a house. At the time, my love for bonsai expanded even more as I continued to collect more trees, read more books, and attended bonsai club meetings.
Around 2001 we moved into a property with 1 acre, it had more room for collection but also room for more plants and trees. At the time, I got real serious with my hobby to where I seeked lessons from prominent bonsai artist such as Boon Manakitipivart, I took his intensive class in California, and was one of the most valuable bonsai lessons I have ever taken. Unfortunately, I was too cheap to continue a full 1 year program, but was determine to expand my knowledge through books, magazines, and experimenting on my own. By this time, I had enough in my collection that I entered the Josh Roth New Talent contest. I was selected as one of the new talents to work on a tree at one of the conventions held in Bellevue Washington. That was an exciting competition but nerve racking at the same time. I did not win that contest but was grateful to have that experience. After that convention, I caught the attention of some the PSBA (Pugent Sound Bonsai Association) officers and members. I was invited to become an officer and became one. Through this experience, I met some great artist and great people.
My bonsai hobby turned into Japanese landscaping, designing, and installing. In 2004 I had the opportunity to purchase a landscape design and built company and decided to switch career. It’s been an exciting, difficult, and a very rewarding experience but definitely not for the faint of heart. I’ve designed and installed hundreds of landscapes now since then. I have created award winning landscape gardens at the NW Flower and Garden Show several times. When I look back at all that, it all boils back down to my love for bonsai.
This site is to pay homage to my passion for bonsai. Hope you enjoy it
ABOUT THE LOGO:
The logo I used is an iteration of the word “bonsai ko” into “bo/u” and ” ko”, put together it will say “buko”. It is written in ancient Filipino script called Baybayin www.baybayin.com. “bo” is the inverted heart shape with a dot (kudlit) on the bottom. “ko” is like a capital I with a kudlit on the bottom. In this logo the bottom line was elongated to represent a bonsai pot. The “ko” overlapping the “bo” to make a simplified image of a bonsai tree. “Buko” also means coconut in Tagalog or Filipino. Coconut is the unlikely tree to use for a bonsai but they grow abundantly in my country of origin, the Philippines. Coconut sometimes is a term used for your “head” (with the emphasis for “nut” in my case) . As an attempt to make bonsai my own and stretching the symbolism of this logo beyond a simplified bonsai, “I’m a Filipino who is very passionate about bonsai that my head and heart is into it.” (As a side note, the Japanese made bonsai their own, although it was believe that it actually started in China. They call it “penjing”. As the bonsai pass through Korea from China to Japan. Korea appears to be a low key player in bonsai, but Korea have great bonsais, they call it “bonjay”. Bonsai is now an international phenomenon but as a Filipino, I see that bonsai trend continuing to move its way down south Asia. Bonsai is bigger than ever in the Philippines. My last travel there in 2012, I saw more bonsai being sold in nurseries. I know they’ve got great materials there, someday I would love to connect with such materials.)